Sizing the SOHO, SMB, SME, Enterprise and Other Markets


  • Service Provider

    Everyone has a different definition for these, they are certainly lose terms. In the 1990s I heard many definitions that were relatively similar. When working with IBM, I learned ones that were totally different. Where does everyone see these terms falling and what other sizes do you see?

    • What defines these terms to you?
    • What do you feel are the lines between these (typically.)
    • What categories are missing?

    Common ones that I hear are SOHO, SMB, SME, Medium, Large and Enterprise


  • Service Provider

    The most important thing is behaviour, IMHO. The difference between each of these is in how they think and act, not based directly on revenue or number of employees or number of computer users. A 2,000 person hedge fund might act way more enterprise than a 100,000 retail store chain or restaurant chain, for example. But generally, each layer is considered to be different in how we treat it because their approach to business and technology change. But those things tend to change along size lines.


  • Service Provider

    These are kind of the rough numbers I feel most comfortable with.

    • SOHO: 1 - 10 people. The "too small to have AD" category.
    • SMB: 10 - 2,000 people. True small business that often can't decide if it is a hobby, pasttime, tax shelter or a business.
    • SME: 2,000 - 5,000 people. True business with stable finances and acts like a true business, just one that is very small.
    • Medium: 5000 - 10,000 people. No longer small in any way, not a sizeable company needing serious services.
    • Large: 10000 - 20,000 people. A serious company but not large enough to through its weight around based on a famous name.
    • Enterprise: 20,000+ people. Those on the Fortune 1000 list or just missing it. Big, well known companies with tons of resources where they are big enough to have entire IT stacks internally, you don't need to hop between companies to move up the ladder, there is total efficiency of scale opportunity, etc.

  • Service Provider

    Things that fall outside of these categories would be non-profits, government and military. Those three don't act like a business at all at any scale and don't make sense to think of that way.



  • I think you're mostly right in the sizing, I feel like there is a lot of overlap between SMB and SME though.


  • Service Provider

    @coliver said in Sizing the SOHO, SMB, SME, Enterprise and Other Markets:

    I think you're mostly right in the sizing, I feel like there is a lot of overlap between SMB and SME though.

    There is a lot of overlap in all of them. Giant grocery story chains with 35,000 people that I've worked for act like SMB. As often do large restaurant chains (I'm told, I've not done that particular job.) They have nearly zero "knowledge workers". McDonald's doesn't have this problem, but Red Lobster likely does. So you always have to allow for behavioural or functional differences. I've certainly been at hedge funds that should be SMB by people count but act like large businesses with hundreds of people in IT.



  • @scottalanmiller said in Sizing the SOHO, SMB, SME, Enterprise and Other Markets:

    These are kind of the rough numbers I feel most comfortable with.

    • SOHO: 1 - 10 people. The "too small to have AD" category.

    OK 1-10 or 1-20 fits here.

    • SMB: 10 - 2,000 people. True small business that often can't decide if it is a hobby, pasttime, tax shelter or a business.

    weeeeee.....
    small here is < 50
    medium is from 50 to 250

    reall business not hobbies but there is no management or hierarchy.

    • SME: 2,000 - 5,000 people. True business with stable finances and acts like a true business, just one that is very small.

    over 250, management starts apperaing but not so much levels.

    • Medium: 5000 - 10,000 people. No longer small in any way, not a sizeable company needing serious services.
    • Large: 10000 - 20,000 people. A serious company but not large enough to through its weight around based on a famous name.
    • Enterprise: 20,000+ people. Those on the Fortune 1000 list or just missing it. Big, well known companies with tons of resources where they are big enough to have entire IT stacks internally, you don't need to hop between companies to move up the ladder, there is total efficiency of scale opportunity, etc.

    this is far from my perception.


  • Service Provider

    @matteo-nunziati said in Sizing the SOHO, SMB, SME, Enterprise and Other Markets:

    • SME: 2,000 - 5,000 people. True business with stable finances and acts like a true business, just one that is very small.

    over 250, management starts apperaing but not so much levels.

    • Medium: 5000 - 10,000 people. No longer small in any way, not a sizeable company needing serious services.
    • Large: 10000 - 20,000 people. A serious company but not large enough to through its weight around based on a famous name.
    • Enterprise: 20,000+ people. Those on the Fortune 1000 list or just missing it. Big, well known companies with tons of resources where they are big enough to have entire IT stacks internally, you don't need to hop between companies to move up the ladder, there is total efficiency of scale opportunity, etc.

    this is far from my perception.

    IBM considers SMB to be 500 - 10,000 or something like that. Under 500 they don't even consider to be a "business".


  • Service Provider

    @matteo-nunziati said in Sizing the SOHO, SMB, SME, Enterprise and Other Markets:

    @scottalanmiller said in Sizing the SOHO, SMB, SME, Enterprise and Other Markets:

    These are kind of the rough numbers I feel most comfortable with.

    • SOHO: 1 - 10 people. The "too small to have AD" category.

    OK 1-10 or 1-20 fits here.

    There is normally a big behavioural change between 10 - 12 people.



  • @scottalanmiller said in Sizing the SOHO, SMB, SME, Enterprise and Other Markets:

    @matteo-nunziati said in Sizing the SOHO, SMB, SME, Enterprise and Other Markets:

    • SME: 2,000 - 5,000 people. True business with stable finances and acts like a true business, just one that is very small.

    over 250, management starts apperaing but not so much levels.

    • Medium: 5000 - 10,000 people. No longer small in any way, not a sizeable company needing serious services.
    • Large: 10000 - 20,000 people. A serious company but not large enough to through its weight around based on a famous name.
    • Enterprise: 20,000+ people. Those on the Fortune 1000 list or just missing it. Big, well known companies with tons of resources where they are big enough to have entire IT stacks internally, you don't need to hop between companies to move up the ladder, there is total efficiency of scale opportunity, etc.

    this is far from my perception.

    IBM considers SMB to be 500 - 10,000 or something like that. Under 500 they don't even consider to be a "business".

    Is IBM a good bench mark?


  • Service Provider

    @coliver said in Sizing the SOHO, SMB, SME, Enterprise and Other Markets:

    @scottalanmiller said in Sizing the SOHO, SMB, SME, Enterprise and Other Markets:

    @matteo-nunziati said in Sizing the SOHO, SMB, SME, Enterprise and Other Markets:

    • SME: 2,000 - 5,000 people. True business with stable finances and acts like a true business, just one that is very small.

    over 250, management starts apperaing but not so much levels.

    • Medium: 5000 - 10,000 people. No longer small in any way, not a sizeable company needing serious services.
    • Large: 10000 - 20,000 people. A serious company but not large enough to through its weight around based on a famous name.
    • Enterprise: 20,000+ people. Those on the Fortune 1000 list or just missing it. Big, well known companies with tons of resources where they are big enough to have entire IT stacks internally, you don't need to hop between companies to move up the ladder, there is total efficiency of scale opportunity, etc.

    this is far from my perception.

    IBM considers SMB to be 500 - 10,000 or something like that. Under 500 they don't even consider to be a "business".

    Is IBM a good bench mark?

    No, horrible. but it's important to understand that big portions of the industry think that we see things in the opposite skew than we tend to think that we are doing.



  • @scottalanmiller said in Sizing the SOHO, SMB, SME, Enterprise and Other Markets:

    @matteo-nunziati said in Sizing the SOHO, SMB, SME, Enterprise and Other Markets:

    @scottalanmiller said in Sizing the SOHO, SMB, SME, Enterprise and Other Markets:

    These are kind of the rough numbers I feel most comfortable with.

    • SOHO: 1 - 10 people. The "too small to have AD" category.

    OK 1-10 or 1-20 fits here.

    There is normally a big behavioural change between 10 - 12 people.

    In my experience 10 is the limit in industry but consultancy firms can grow up to 20 keeping steady behavior here.



  • @scottalanmiller said in Sizing the SOHO, SMB, SME, Enterprise and Other Markets:

    @coliver said in Sizing the SOHO, SMB, SME, Enterprise and Other Markets:

    @scottalanmiller said in Sizing the SOHO, SMB, SME, Enterprise and Other Markets:

    @matteo-nunziati said in Sizing the SOHO, SMB, SME, Enterprise and Other Markets:

    • SME: 2,000 - 5,000 people. True business with stable finances and acts like a true business, just one that is very small.

    over 250, management starts apperaing but not so much levels.

    • Medium: 5000 - 10,000 people. No longer small in any way, not a sizeable company needing serious services.
    • Large: 10000 - 20,000 people. A serious company but not large enough to through its weight around based on a famous name.
    • Enterprise: 20,000+ people. Those on the Fortune 1000 list or just missing it. Big, well known companies with tons of resources where they are big enough to have entire IT stacks internally, you don't need to hop between companies to move up the ladder, there is total efficiency of scale opportunity, etc.

    this is far from my perception.

    IBM considers SMB to be 500 - 10,000 or something like that. Under 500 they don't even consider to be a "business".

    Is IBM a good bench mark?

    No, horrible. but it's important to understand that big portions of the industry think that we see things in the opposite skew than we tend to think that we are doing.

    My limits are extracted from italian accounting and fiscal law. They fit quite well with behaviur change in organizations here.


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